Hi, my name is Andrea, & I'm a Recovering Baptist.

Today, it's all about Dad's. My husband, as many of you know, is a man of simple pleasures. His ideal day is sitting on our porch, smoking a stogey with a beer. As we sat together on our half-painted, half-chipped deck, I realized how terribly white trash we appeared, to which he quipped, "We're not sitting on a mobile home porch!" Touchรจ, honey. This is much better.

This past week has taken it out of us. Really, these past few months have been a frickin' doozy. So many things, out of our control, have befallen our family & have nearly knocked the wind out of us all. I sit here today, feeling entirely blessed to be able to say that my brother is ok. Getting the phone call that he'd had a gran mal seizure & was in a car accident had to have been one of the worst moments I've experienced. None of us knew what to expect. So, to see him, hobbling into his house not 4 hours after he totaled his car into a brick building was nothing short of jaw-dropping. It's in these moments that your faith is brought to light, & either made or broken.

I don't count it a coincidence that during the last few weeks I've wrestled with Who God actually is. I know that as I tossed & turned, cried & screamed at my ceiling in the most demure & lady-like fashion, that God was opening my eyes to Who He is.

My childhood was rough: a nice, manicured neighborhood, private Baptist school, new clothes every season, plenty of food (see old photos for proof). It's truly a miracle that I made it out alive. The Baptist school is where my story comes into play. I can't say I learned too much about the love of God in that environment. God was a big, scary, Gandolf-looking judge, whose sole purpose in my daily life was to make me feel condemnation, guilt, & fear. I can tell you that as a senior in high school, my philosophy teacher told my entire class that at some point in our lives, we would screw up so badly that God WOULD give up on us. It was too late. The foundation was laid, & I have spent the last 12 years of my life truly & utterly petrified of a God who uses His time to punish me & make me feel like a pile of cow dung. My first reaction to things (miscarriages, car accidents, etc...) is a very panicky "but I didn't do anything wrong!"

I can't say that I'm suddenly cured. I even told God the other day that I'd love just a lightning bolt moment where suddenly my thinking changed, & I understood the relationship & the love of God. I'm not cured of my Baptist ways by any means, but I was able to push through. It's still a little murky & I'm still learning to not be scared. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes you lose babies, sometimes your brother drives into buildings, sometimes you dye your hair & you look like a Oompa Loompa. We live in a fallen world, but that's where Jesus steps in & stands in the gap for you, interceding for you. Those are the moments when God tells that He weeps with us; His heart breaks as ours break. And those are the moments when I'm pretty sure God isn't a Baptist (don't go being offended, you Baptists. I'm just explaining my story).

I stole a term from my pastor's wife today: recovering Baptist. I want my girl to fall deeply in love with a God who deeply loves her & wants desperately to be a part of her daily life. That starts with me. Josh always tells me that this is simple - God feels about me the way that I feel about Maddie but on like a hugungous scale. I didn't know that God growing up, but He's pretty cool. He's a lot nicer than the Gandolf dude. And He thinks I'm super cool. Because I am, obvs. And by me loving Maddie that way, she, in turn, learns the love of God.

Today, I'm thankful. I have a Dad I love, & who taught me to smack a baseball down a street & leave people with a dropped jaw. I have a Papa who loves me like his daughter. I have THE coolest father-in-law who thinks the sun shines out of my girl's butt. I have a brother who is ALIVE (and if you saw the pictures, you know that this is a miracle) & who is a wonderful Daddy to his munchkins. I have THE most amazing, wonderful, darling, HILARIOUS husband who makes parenting look like a cakewalk. And I have a God who loves me, takes care of me, walks with me, talks to me, & Who wants to use every second of my life to show people that He's not scary - He's our BFF.

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